2011 All Arizona Messier Marathon Results

Site: Hovatter Airstrip (south of I-10 at exit #53)

Date: April 2, 2011


Missed or Comments


George Robinson

10" Dob


M77, M74, M33, M30


Jimmy Ray

4.25" Newt

SAC (2)

M77, M74, M33, M30, M110, M76


Bob Christ

9.25" SCT




Joe Goss

6" Ref




Rick Tejera





Rick Rotramel

10" Dob




Toni Wiles

15" Dob




Jack Jones

100mm Ref




Paul Lind

14½" Dob




Joan McGue

8" Dob




Chris Hanrahan

8x40 binos














Wayne Thomas

11" SCT


Imaging: StellaCam II (8 sec. exposures)

1 - Auburn, CA; Astronomical League - Member at Large
2 - 1964 Edmund Scientific "Palomar Jr." with 25mm Kellner (his grandfather's scope)

2011 All-Arizona Messier Marathon Recap by AJ Crayon

This is the first All Arizona Marathon held at a new site, an abandoned airport. One would think the weather would be in our favor for a first time. Yet it was not and this was not a stellar year for the All Arizona Messier Marathon. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the weather report was right on. It gave a poor report for the marathon of very cloudy skies and winds from 5 - 25mph (8 - 40km). Naturally this kept many folks away. Yet, given the circumstances, there was a nice crowd and we counted 35 vehicles and about 50 folks.

At the sunset meeting the topic of canceling the marathon was broached. It was met with might be called a mutiny, especially from good friend George Robinson and others. So the marathon was on, with the expectation that counts would be low, very low.

I didn't plan on participating because the 14" Dobsonian, with shroud, created to much sail area for the wind speed. So, instead, I walked around the observing field and spent some time talking with many folks. Actually the walk wound up being about 5 miles because observers was setup so far apart along and just adjacent to the dirt runways, which were dotted with many-a-shrub.

This year was the first time a segment for imaging was permitted. Unfortunately only one imager participated - Wayne Thomas.

As for the observing part, 12 lists were turned in, an expected paltry number. Early evening objects missed were M77, M74 and M33 all of which were close to the horizon, and hidden by cloud cover, at evening twilight. Objects commonly bagged were through Virgo, after that it became spotty, very spotty. That is except for the first three places. In the morning M30 wasn't available because of a lingering cloud that was just about the same azimuth and elevation.

First place went to my good friend and comedian, George Robinson. He saw skies begin clearing of clouds just after 3:00AM. Does the marathon by memory so the clouds weren't that much of a hinderance. Indication there's hope for all of us with GoTo or PushTo Scopes.

Jimmy Ray nabbed second place. He used his Grandfather's 1964 Edmund Scientific 4.25" f/10 "Palomar Jr" telescope with the original 25mm Kellner. Way to go Grandpa! Jimmy says he will retire the scope after this, along with the second place telescope plate.

Bob Christ got a good start since he put his scope in hibernate the night before. Unfortunately, as is the case with most folks, the clouds did him in. Yet he did reinforce his tent so it wouldn't become airborne, went to bed at 1:00AM and missed the clear skies.

I arose at 5:30AM and the walk around found George Robinson and Jimmy Ray still at their scopes trying to bag M30. Unfortunately neither was successful.

Afterwards everyone that stayed at the site seemed to be glad they stayed as spirits were high. Here's hoping the weather will be in our favor for 2012!

2011 All Arizona Messier Marathon coordinator

AJ Crayon
Saguaro Astronomy Club


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